Cities driving trade

Dublin: Easy to do business, easy to access Europe

Dublin’s perfect blend of attractive culture and supportive business landscape makes it the ideal location for firms looking to move into the European free-trade zone.

Fergus Condon.png“Dublin is a very culturally diverse city – it’s the home of Bono and Bob Geldof, of James Joyce and WB Yeats, as well as the pint of Guinness and the Silicon Docks,” explains Fergus Condon, partner at Grant Thornton Ireland. “The view we take here is that if the city is attractive for people, it is attractive for business.”

That has certainly proved to be the case over the past decade, during which Dublin has recast itself as a high-tech and highly skilled European hub for companies from all over the world. “Around 10 years ago there were a number of multinationals that were looking for a new location for their international headquarters as a result of tax legislation changes made by the administration in the US,” says Condon. “This gave Dublin the opportunity to showcase the reasons why it is an ideal base.”

These range from a politically stable and business-friendly government to the fact that Ireland is an English-speaking country – soon to be the only one remaining in the EU, Condon points out.

“Ireland is also a highly skilled knowledge economy,” he adds. “Around 42% of our population have gone through higher education – a rate that is only bettered in Europe by the UK. And because Dublin is a great place to live and work, we attract skilled workers from all over the world.”

Low taxes and frictionless trade

Two of the most important incentives for businesses to set up in Dublin are the favourable tax environment and the fact that Ireland sits at the edge of the European market and the EU’s 320 million consumers – all of whom can be reached without tariffs or other barriers via the bloc’s free-trade area.

“Most of the international companies that set up here are doing business not just throughout the EU but also into parts of Asia,” Condon says. “Take Facebook, for example: they refer to their presence in Ireland as their international headquarters – that is, everything outside of North America. The likes of Facebook and Google have diverse offices here in Dublin employing people with 10, 20 or more different nationalities. This allows them to service a wide range of markets and covers all sorts of roles, from community protection to customer services and sales.”

Ireland and Dublin’s main sector focuses are technology, life sciences and financial services, Condon points out. “I think maybe eight of the world’s top 10 life sciences businesses have bases in the country. In financial services, there is an increasing focus on fintech, especially in areas like cryptocurrency. The regulations in Dublin are seen as more robust and more widely respected.”

The Brexit effect

Dublin has a thriving start-up scene that has been boosted by the presence of a number of tech giants in the city. The government’s forward-thinking approach to incentivising research and development, through tax credits and an attractive intellectual property holding regime, has also played a part.

The UK’s departure from the EU is likely to have an impact on Irish businesses in sectors such as agriculture or food and drink manufacture. However, Brexit is creating an opportunity for Dublin to attract asset-management businesses from the city of London. “The factors that have made Dublin an attractive city for the past 20 years are the things that make the city attractive from a Brexit perspective,” says Condon. “So it’s not surprising that there are a lot of UK-based companies who want to establish themselves in Dublin as a gateway into the European market. But we should balance that by saying that as our largest trading partner and with the hundreds of years of history we have between us, Ireland would certainly prefer to see the UK in the European Union.”

Businesses that are interested in exploring what Dublin has to offer should contact IDA Ireland. The organisation has branches throughout the US as well as Europe and parts of Asia.

Gateway to Ireland and Europe

“Dublin’s stability, skilled workforce and cultural heritage make it the ideal home for any business looking to move into Ireland and the EU as well,” says Condon. “Some of the world’s biggest multinationals are based here, and with good reason. But the environment here should appeal to businesses of all types and sizes.”

Dublin’s diverse and pro-business culture makes this the ideal gateway for firms looking to expand into Ireland as well as the wider EU region. To find out more about establishing your business here, contact Fergus Condon.

Dublin quick facts

  • Location: East coast of Ireland
  • Time zone: GMT
  • Population: 1.3 million in metropolitan and hinterland area
  • GDP: US$173.7bn[1]
  • Industrial strengths: Financial services, life sciences, technology
  • Growth sectors: Fintech, AI, robotics, biotech
  • Regional access: London is 436 kilometres (km) away and 1 hour 30 minutes by air. Paris is 780 km away and 1 hour 45 minutes by air. Frankfurt is 1,080 km away and 2 hours by air. New York is 5,115 km away and 7 hours 45 minutes by air.

[1] GlobalData.com